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Public Meeting to Discuss Proposed Required Retrofit of Soft Story Buildings in Berkeley

There will be a public meeting on Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 7 PM in the North Berkeley Senior Center (1901 Hearst Avenue). This meeting will introduce and discuss a proposed ordinance that requires residential buildings with five or more units to be seismically retrofitted if the building is constructed with soft, weak, or open front conditions. The proposal requires owners to submit a building permit application to retrofit the building within three years and to complete retrofit within an additional two years. A similar ordinance was just passed in San Francisco, and details of that ordinance can be found here.

A soft story building is a wood-frame building with more than one story, typically having extensive ground story openings, garage doors, or open-air spaces with little or no enclosing solid wall. These buildings are dangerous because they have the most potential to collapse and sustain serious damage in the event of an earthquake. There are currently 154 buildings on the soft story inventory prepared by the City in 2005. If you are an owner of one of these buildings, a notice of this public meeting should have been mailed to you.

Further details on this proposed ordinance can be found here. Following the initial public meeting, the proposal will be presented to the Disaster and Fire Safety Commission, Housing Advisory Commission, Rent Stabilization Board, and Planning Commission. Another public meeting will be held in the fall before an ordinance is submitted to the City Council for approval.

As always, if you have any questions about your building or soft-story conditions, give me a call at (510)272-9999 or e-mail me at info@test.enginious-structures.com.

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